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Zurich – Birgitta Walsh
Birgitta Walsh


I arrived at Zurich Airport. My Eurail pass useless I had to fly. I had been stuck 4 days in Barcelona because of a French Rail strike. Every train that leaves Spain must pass through France so it became impossible to get to Zurich to meet my daughter Maria who also had train problems and had to be re-routed through Germany. She had been visiting a friend in Belgium. I rented a car and picked her up at the train station. Our hotel was outside town. I thought it was a hotel Birigtta and I had stayed in when we first went to Zurich to live in 1998 but it was another in the same chain. That had pros and cons. Pro: price, Con: No parking in Zurich. We used the car to sightsee in the surrounding villages. But learned a lesson. Don’t rent a car in Zurich.

After discussion with the hotel we decided to take a bus and the Metro into town. This worked like clockwork. We took the local ferry to Rapperiswil a town on the South end of Lake Zurich. As we passed Kusnacht, where we had lived in 1989, Maria sprinkled some of her Mom’s ashes in the lake, It is a beautiful spot with a great view of the town and all of the surrounding lake and a clear view of the hill leading up to the location where we had lived. You could see the beautiful Romantik Seehotel Sonne near the ferry dock. It was a solemn occasion but we both understood we were doing what Birgitta wanted. She had chosen this exact spot. She had so loved living in Switzerland. Maria and I toured Rapperswil climbed the ramparts of the castle and watched the tourists at play. The restaurants werefull. The boat ride to and from was an exceptional pleasure. The old Steamer now with modern engines a jewel in perfect condition. This IS Switzerland nothing else is possible.

We had come to Zurich after four years in Israel, The contrast was startling. The lush green hills were a treat for the eyes. The order and cleanliness everywhere were beyond belief. Here again she joined the International Women’s Club, played bridge and made a host of new friends. They played together taking every advantage of the town and the exceptional transportation system available to them at reduced cost as residents. The Train Gang was formed and a good friend will later tell you of their adventures together. I had moved into a GE office in Zurich located directly on the lake shared with the Necular Group who managed Switzerland’s Necular plants, an office with a view of a beautiful Henry Miller statue directly outside my window looking over the water.

We moved into a new apartment. Built to last a 100 years with underground parking and our own Bomb Shelter. Filled with Miele appliances so modern (and complicated) that they provided training classes. That is where she met Anna, our new downstairs neighbor who has become a lifetime friend. She had two boys and a husband Chris who as the fates sometimes decide was killed later in England on a motorcycle. I was reminded by Anna, just this week, that she had placed a portion of his ashes in almost the exact location in Lake Zurich. Fate works in strange ways. The decision to place them there made by Anna and Birgitta years apart but with a precious result. I remember Chris cooking multiple curries for us all. Six of us sitting at a table sharing a wonderful meal never dreaming that two of us would share a nearby resting place. Fate is an overused word in this paragraph but nothing describes it better.

We had left all of our furniture in Israel except for personal items. Now we together had the opportunity to furnish our new place at company expense. Yep!!! GE pays. We were lucky, we both have the same taste, Modern. It took some time but in the end we were both completely satisfied and had a great time doing it. We later took it all to Spain on our next assignment.

Maria and I walked the lake down to my office. She marveled at the activity on the lakeside. You go from the city to a very tranquil park in a few hundred meters. People sunning themselves on the grass, lovers sitting holding hands and children playing peacefully in the park it was a joy to behold. Birgitta used to come and bring a lunch and a bottle of wine for me Champagne for her, we would sit in the grass next to the Henry Miller statue and breath in the activity surrounding us. Memories as spectacular as the world we had shared in that magical place. Having Maria with me made it easier.

We drove up to the location of our apartment and I showed Maria where it was and the wonderful view over the lake. A view possible only because the apartment in front of us was 75 meters lower and had a flat grass roof which they kept mowed. Swiss planning at it’s best.

We went to town and walked the shopping street. Maria wanted Fondu and we were fortunate enough to find a restaurant where we could eat and watch the foot traffic pass. It was marvelous, the service impeccable. Just the right touch to end our visit. Birgitta would have enjoyed every minute. It’s another perk of this adventure. You get to spend some quality time with your children, every minute a treasure.

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